So the past week has gone so quickly cause we've been so busy! After Elena and DJ arrived on Wednesday, we were going non stop. Thursday we took a trip to the Korean Folk Village in my city, a beautifl place with lots of old buildings, cool performances. I went in the winter once, but it was much prettier in the summer!! Thursday PM we headed into Seoul to find DJ's hotel, and then Elena and I walked around for a bit in Itaewon, a busy foreigner part of Seoul. Friday DJ went to the DMZ, and Elena came to school with me. My kids were so excited to meet her! For the past month or so I've been telling them that my sister is coming. When I wasnt in school on Thursday they were very concerned, but when Elena came they were super excited. She gave them all little bracelets that are popular back in the US right now, and they all told her how beautiful she is, and they were all "happy and excited" because "teacher's siser is here." It was so cute.
Friday night we had a going away dinner for Renee, at Shabu Shabu, and Elena got to cmoe with. Sat was a busy day in Seoul, and was pretty decent weather luckily. We went to the Korean War museum, had lunch in Itaewon, walked through a really pretty olderarea of Seoul and stopped at a tea shop for some drinks, and then in the evening we took the cable car up to the top of Namsan Tower, where we got a view of the entire city of Seoul. It was cool because we went up when it was still light, but it got dark so we got to see it iat night too. Then we said bye to DJ and went back to Dongbaek...started packing for Thailand and fell fast asleep!
We left my aparrment around 430 on sunday morning to catch the airport bus, Sunday was a full day of flying. First to Shanghai, then Bangkok, then finally Phuket. Poor Elena!! I'm used to it, but she's not the biggest fan of airports. Finally we arrived to Phuket, got in a taxi, and arrived to our hostel. Our first hostel was sooo cool....very laid back and the workers were so nice.
The next morning we woke up for a spa package!! Two and a half hours of bliss....it was amazing. We got facials at the end too, and some deliious tea and cookies!! Definitely worth the money, more expensive than a normal Thai massage, but probably half the price of what you would pay for such a service back home!!
That afternoon my two friends Ryan and Renee were flying into Phuket, and would be meeting us at the hostel. We met up with them, and took off immediately for elephant trekking!! It was honestly a bit of a let down, we paid way too much for a trek through the "jungle", that was really nothing more than a dirt road up a mountain and about five minutes in the jungle. And it was completely pouring the whole time!! But, we did get to see some amazing views of Phuket.
That night we went out for some dinner...first of many amazing meals! Then we hung out in our hostel for the night.
Tuesday we took a ferry to Koh Phi Phi, another island two hours away by ferry. Definitely my favorite part of the whole trip! We stayed at an absolutely amazing resort for only one night...but it was totally worth it!! Bungalows with flowers everywhere, an amazing pool, good restaurants and a breathtaking private beach!! (If the tide was in...) Tues afternoon we hung out by the pool, had some fancy dinner, then listened to a band play for about two hours. It was great! Then Wednesday was sooo beautiful, clear skies and warm, and we hung out by the beach all day until our ferry left back to Phuket. The resort was called Phi Phi Island Village Resort and Spa or soething like that....definitely a possibility for a honeymoon!!
Wed we stayed on another beach in Phuket, at another great hostel. We went out to eat , then the next day we took a speedboat to another island only 15 minutes away. We payed less than 30 dollars for the boat trip, which included lunch, snorkelling (even though the water was too cloudy to see much!) and the boat of course. Not a bad deal and we got to hang out on another beach! We also went parasailing!! It was super short, and I actually didn't like it very much, cause at one point they dip you in the water for a second, but for some reason with me i was kinda dragged along for a few seconds...(not too exciting, especially when you can see the jellyfish from way above!!) But I would do it again if it were longer!!
Thursday night we had dinner at our hostel, they have an amazing restaurant, (our bill, which included four full meals and three beers totaled less than 30 bucks....so awesome!!) then Elena and I went for a walk down the road. We got "Dr. Fish" pedicures, something I had done in Korea already, but you stick your feet in these tubs and little fish come and "suck away the dead skin". Not sure if it really works, but its fun nonetheless! Then we got an amazing Thai pancake on our way home, which was pretty similar to a crepe, except crispier and more delicious!!
Later Ryan, Renee and I went out to check out the famous Bangla Road in Phuket, the biggest night life spot. And nightlife we got!! People everywhere, trying to get you to come to their bars, shows, fighting matches, etc. It was insane! We ended up going to this hugggge bar that was like lots of little bars in one, and ran into a guy we met at our first hostel, who took us to a night club. It was a lot of fun, but I don't think I could have handled it for more than one night! When we had had enough, we got some Subway (mmmm) and took a tuk tuk (a little taxi, but kinda and open air thing) back to our hostel.
Friday we had a few hours to kill before we went to the airport to go back to Bangkok, so we hung out at Kata beach. It was another amazaingly beautiful beach...and I wish we had longer to stay there!! Then we got in a taxi and said goodbye to Phuket, then flew to Bangkok for our last night and day!
Our hostel in Bangkok was great too, and after we checked in we headed out to find some food...only to realize, we had no idea where to go, and even after asking people, we were unsuccessful in our food hunt. So, tired and hungry, we went back to our hostel and ate there.
The next day, Saturday, was a loooong day. Our flight didnt lieave until 1am on Sunday morning, so we had all day to explore Bangkok. We went to the Grand Palace, saw the reclining Buddah, huge!! had a great lunch, explored the worlds biggest market (over 15000 stalls!) and then headed to Siam, the central area of Bangkok, where apparently there had been a lot of the protests. We just wanted to check it out, and didn't stay long...then it was back to the hostel to get our things, grab a taxi, and head to the airport!!
It was an amazing, albeit fast, trip. I'm sure I'll go back one day to explore it more!! I've been soo tired this whole week...and this weekend is going to be used to catch up on sleep and cleaning!! I've also got a huge decision to make...my school asked me to extend my contract for another year, and I told them I'd let them know by Monday. If this is the case, I would be coming home for two months in Jan and Feb!! And would get a huge apartment, like with a living room, separate bedroom, and a balcony!! Hmmm....decisions, decisions!! Keep me in your thoughts, and hope you all are doing well!!